A house fit for a dog (or two)


At last the dogs have a house to keep them cosy when we are out. It has been built against a neighbour’s barn and the door faces our covered porch with its back to the winter wind and rain. An ambitious stone building with a terracotta tiled roof and a floating pine floor. OK, so it’s not the Millau Viaduct, but it’s ambitious enough for me! My previous buildings have been no more than sand castles and Lego houses. I have been involved in the construction of a large Lego colonizing spaceship though. This was a massive joint project where I started at the bridge and habitation front end and my little (at the time) nephew Jamie started at the engine end. The ship was big enough to place Lego trees in the middle section as a natural supplement to artificial atmosphere and biodiversity creation in the new world. I distanced myself and eventually withdrew from the project when said little nephew started removing the trees and replacing them with gun turrets.

Not really prototypes, but you could say these previous constructions were invaluable learning experiences:

1) The New Hampshire or is it Charles Rennie Macintosh, country house with bay windows, balcony and French windows opening into the garden on the sunny side. Elegant, but a very complicated roof that I’m sure would start to leak after a few years.


2) The flat-pack cardboard kennel. Easy to construct but not particularly weather proof.


So here it is. All the materials bar the cement were recycled, either from stuff left in our “builder’s yard” or from other projects. Don’t worry, I kept an eye out for snakes when I was sorting the timber! After some head scratching, I worked out how to do the roof by popping across the lane and checking the barn. To my surprise in such rustic architecture, there’s actually a bit of science going on to make it work. The top facing tiles taper from bottom to top while the underside tiles, that take most of the water, taper top to bottom. Also, such rustic old tiles are all a bit random so there’s some trial and error to make them fit. Because the terracotta is so rough, friction keeps everything nice and snug. The roof has survived a 3mm splash overnight, but the test of a downpour plus howling gale is yet to happen. In true Portuguese barn style, it may end up with a line of large rocks along the end tiles.



Also included is B&B windows. Beans and beer. Note: these beers and jars of beans were consumed at different times.


Despite photos of dogs being oblivious, Gil and Juta seem very happy with their new kennel. I was so pleased when I finished I decided to be a blokey bloke and have a beer whilst watching some rugby. I managed one beer then felt like a nice cup of tea. Ah, that’s better, a nice robust large leaf Kenyan.



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